Obviously not in that order!
We did the hospital first where Mum was alert and oriented asking my niece why she was still here after she was supposed to board a plane last night. She spoke to my daughter via FaceTime clearly remembering all the stuff I had told her about what she was doing. She subtly hinted that I didn’t do the cream earlier’. My sister and neice then began massaging the aromatherapy cream into her arms.
I did the boring stuff that comes from once having been a nurse: fetching mum a spoon instead of a fork, sitting her up straight in the bed, readjustting her surgical stockings.
Back at home (after dropping my neice off at the station) we find the bed being delivered. A lovely man carrys it in peices and assembles it in the downstairs sitting room we have cleared for mum. He shows us how to alter the hardbess of the inflatable matress and adjust the bed positions in a jaw dropping number of ways. You can not only, raise it, lift the head for sitting, lift the knees, lift the whole legs, but also -my personal favourite- tilt the bed. This will give my mum a better view of her beloved garden.
This gives a wonderful opportunity to do something concrete. My sister and I work together to prepare for mums return from hospital. My sister in her room upstairs and me the old sitting roon downstairs. Upstairs the foot high pile next to my mums bed -of miscellaneousis stuff from books to dressings, to glasses, to polo mints, to get well cards, board games, bottles of water – is organised and her bed made ready for the queue of visitors waiting to come. Downstairs fresh bedding, blanket, flowers and drapes transform the roon into a relaxing boudoir. We FaceTime my mum she is impressed, she likes the view of the garden, the mirror and the fairy lights. We have covered the wheely dressing tray with the Gudrun bright floral table cloth that appeared in a parcel addressed to mum today.
It is so inviting in there my sister and I sit in there chatting about the past and the future sharing our worries. She has a sherry and I have a glass of wine. I am vaguely conscious that I am sitting on a commode covered by a sheepskin rug!
We also tackle my parents poor beleaguered cat who -to mum’s distress – moved out of the house when mum got ill. I find the cat lying on the doormat in front of the shed. I lift her up. She starts purring immediately. I bring her in put on on my lap and force feed her treats. She feels thin and mangy. My sister then has her on her lap. Stroking her she feels the tiny lumps throughout her fur. She asks me for a flea comb and combs the cat. We wait for her to jump off in disgust but instead her pur deepens and she relaxes across my sisters lap. My sister then combs solidly for what feels like half an hour as I removed tissue after tissue of hair and black dots. When she is finished the cats fur is smooth and shiny and I am on my second glass of wine.
We move into the kitchen. My sister cooks. I poor myself another glass of wine. The cat comes through and I hook her onto my lap and start stroking. She starts purring and stretching out her legs. As supper is served she jumps off and disappears ‘well’ I think ‘at least we had her in for a while’. By now my brain is comfortably woozy but I am still shocked to discover as I pour yet another glass of wine that I have finished the bottle.
Moving unsteadily upstairs with a glass of water in my hand I pause to look into the room we have got ready for mum. There is the cat curled up on the side of the bed sleeping.